Daily Archives: December 21, 2012

Kevin Seamus Hasson: When Christmas Was Banned in Massachusetts

The contrast between October and December 1621 in Plymouth is a telling illustration of culture Pilgrim-style. In October, the Pilgrims held what has come to be called the First Thanksgiving. It lasted several days, featuring marksmanship and other contests in addition to good food. In short, it was about as communal and festive as the Pilgrims could ever be. Two months later, however, on “the day called Christmas Day,” their leader, Governor William Bradford, recorded in his journal that he “called them out to work.”

That was normal. For the Pilgrims, Dec. 25 was a day just like any other. Christmas, they thought, was a “papist” invention. Unlike their feast days, they couldn’t find it in the Bible, so they wouldn’t celebrate it. The previous year, they had spent their first Christmas in Plymouth splitting lumber.

But a year later not everyone agreed. Some newly arrived colonists objected that “it went against their consciences to work” on Christmas. So Bradford grudgingly excused them “till they were better informed” and led the wiser, more veteran colonists away to work. Returning at noon, however, he was horrified to discover the newcomers “in the street at play, openly” engaged in various sports.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, History, Religion & Culture

Bishop Pete Broadbent Comments on Leicester Cathedral Lay Canon Stephen Barney's Confidence Motion

Comment posted on Thinking Anglicans
The no confidence motion is a piece of illiberal vindictiveness simply unworthy of even being considered by the House of Laity. Philip Giddings is the Chair of the House; he is entitled to have his own views on the propriety of ordaining women to the episcopate and on whether or not the legislation before the Synod was fit for purpose. He is also charged with representing the views of those who are members of the House of Laity. His speech, if you read it, is measured and thoughtful. (I happen to think he’s wrong in the conclusion that he reaches, but that’s neither here nor there).

We have had over the years in Synod, Prolocutors (Clergy) and Chairs/Vice Chairs of the House of Laity whose positions on the ordination of women have variously been for and against. They have spoken from that particular viewpoint (David Silk and Norman Russell spring to mind as principled opponents/doubters).

By contrast, the argument in the proposer’s paper is politically illiterate, incoherent, naive, and reeks of the sort of liberal intolerance that we have seen all too frequently in recent years within the Anglican Communion. I hope that the House will see sense and send this no confidence motion into the oblivion it deserves.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Washington Post) On road to modernization, Church of England finds crisis

The surprising defeat last month of a measure allowing the ordination of female bishops has plunged the Church of England into a crisis with one issue at its core: Should religion adapt to fit an increasingly secular society, or should it be the enforcer of tradition in fast-changing times?

Debate over that question is upending Britain’s official church, the symbolic heart of a global Anglican Communion that includes the Episcopal Church in the United States. The narrow loss of the measure has so infuriated liberal church leaders that many insist that the only way forward is to simply show conservatives the door.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture

Peter Ould Rebuts Leicester Cathedral Lay Canon Stephen Barney's Deposition Attempt

I think this is very poor. Let’s get to the core of what Stephen’s complaints are, bullet by bullet. Each point below is directly related to the bullet in the text above.

1. Philip Giddings disagreed with Justin Welby – How is this possibly a reason to have no confidence in someone?
2. Philip Giddings disagreed with the majority if Bishops – How is this possibly a reason to have no confidence in someone?
3. Philip Giddings convinced some people to vote no – How is this possibly a reason to have no confidence in someone?
4. Philip Giddings spoke as “Chair of the House” ”“ This is possibly the only point of merit, but in his speech Giddings specifically referred to his role as Chair for two purposes only. First, to congratulate Justin Welby on his appointment and second, to reflect a minority view which he may or may not hold to. Is it Canon Stephen’s position that the Chair of the House should not try to represent minority positions?
5. Some people in the wider public didn’t like the decision of the Church – So what? How is this possibly a reason to have no confidence in someone unless he and he alone made the decision?

There might now be a vote on a Single Clause which will provide poorer provision then Philip Giddings wants ”“ So what? There might not be. One cannot blame Giddings for something that “might happen”.
The only point of any merit is that Giddings used his role of Chair of the House inappropriately, but given the content of his speech, it is very clear that he felt he was representing a minority position. Indeed, Giddings’ speech is interesting in that he at no point mentions his own theological position on the issue (he does mention he voted yes in 1992) but rather his concern for others’.

Lay members of General Synod should reject this motion outright. I think it also behoves supporters of introducing Women Bishops (like I have become this year) to publicly point out how ridiculous and damaging these kind of procedural actions actually are.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

Leicester Cathedral Lay Canon Stephen Barney attempts to Depose Dr Giddings over women bishops

Motion of no confidence in the Chair of the House of Laity

My reason for asking members of the House to debate this motion is that I do not have confidence in our Chair since:
ï‚· His speech against the measure followed directly after Justin Welby’s and therefore I believe directly undermined what the Archbishop elect had said
ï‚· Since it was against it did not support the views of the House of Bishops as a whole
ï‚· Speaking as the Chair of our House his speech was instrumental in convincing some of the undecided members of the House to vote against
ï‚· I believe the speech was therefore a significant contributor to the reputational damage the Church of England is already suffering at the hands of the press, which is also manifest in the comments of the Prime Minister, the emerging reports of withdrawal of financial support, the angry reaction of church members and the disbelief and ridicule expressed by many of our secular friends, all of which I believe will damage the mission of our church
ï‚· The failure of the Measure is already giving momentum to the idea that the only likely solution now is a single clause Measure, which would result in a worse outcome for the minority groups than was on offer on Tuesday

I have always been one of the first to say that individuals must vote according to their consciences; however leaders have other responsibilities and accountabilities. I feel that if I am to support the leader of a group of which I am a member then that leader must show wise and good judgement and I do not believe that this has happened.
Canon Stephen Barney
Leicester 325

Read it all
See also: Agenda for Meeting of House of Laity on January 18, 2013 and Unedited Transcript and Guardian: Female bishops: chair of house of laity faces vote of no confidence

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(York Press) Leicester Cathedral Dean moved to York gives Interview

VIVIENNE Faull pauses beneath the soaring bulk of York Minster, then gives Press photographer Matt Clark a glance. “Which way are we going in?” she asks. It’s a revealing moment. This is the woman who was last month named the new Dean of York
The new Dean cuts a hugely likeable figure, with her slightly unruly hair and rumpled linen jacket over severe black clerical dress. But make no mistake: this is a formidably intelligent woman ”“ and one with clear, outspoken views on issues such as women in the priesthood
She thinks that the church is on a journey that will ultimately end in it accepting gay marriage ”“ though not simply at the behest of Government.

“We have to take it step by step. But I hope that by the time I die we can see an acceptance of these sorts of partnerships as being something that can reflect the love of God.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Ang. Ink) Global South Coalition states Jefferts Schori's actions toward S.C. of no legal account

The leaders of the Global South coalition of Anglican provinces have written to Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina stating they do not recognize the validity of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jeffert Schori’s purported deposition of him from episcopal office and the ordained ministry.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Global South Churches & Primates, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Living Church) More Bridges for Pittsburgh

“Part of the sadness of this conflict is that a lot of people of different stripes felt themselves abused and weakened,” [Dorsey] McConnell said, adding that he will “strive less for grand theological consensus than for basic pastoral care.”

“I want people to know I love them and I pray for them and I don’t want anyone ostracized from any conversation.”

The new bishop is enthusiastic about the city that has called him as its first non-provisional bishop since Bishop Duncan helped found the ACNA.

“Pittsburgh has become a very young and cool place. There’s a wide open mission field,” he said. “Everybody out there is looking for two things: they’re looking for mercy and they’re looking for hope. I’m definitely a missionary bishop and this is a missionary diocese.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pittsburgh

Misreading the Magnificat–Where are the hymns that embody Scripture's critique of the Rich?

It is hard to find Christian hymns that embody Scripture’s sharp critique of the rich and the dangers of wealth. There are positive songs about simplicity (“Simple Gifts”) and exhortations not to cling to earthly goods (the German Lutheran chorales “A Mighty Fortress” and “Jesus, Priceless Treasure”), but not much on the actual dangers of wealth.

Scripture’s sharp-edged message about the danger of wealth is not restricted to the Magnificat. One of my favorite gospel songs adapts Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus”””Rusty Old Halo” by Hoyt Axton. Unfortunately, Axton of “Joy to the World (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog)” fame blunted the parable by reducing the fires of hell to “a rusty old halo, skinny white cloud, robe that’s so wooly it scratches.”

There’s a refreshingly unusual folk ballad on Keith and Kristyn Getty’s new album, Hymns for the Christian Life. Think of “Simple Living” as the musical equivalent of Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo’s Red Letter Revolution. Unlike Axton’s soft-pedaling, the Getty-Stuart Townend songwriting team gives Jesus’ dialogue with the rich young ruler a transparent treatment. They hone the sharp edge of Jesus’ advice: “Sell all you have; give to the poor. / Then heaven’s treasure shall be yours.” Francis of Assisi couldn’t have said it more pointedly.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Ascension, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(WSJ) CEOs Frustrated With Fiscal Cliff Standstill

A long line of America’s top chief executives have rotated through Washington in recent weeks, loudly urging lawmakers and the White House to reach a broad deal to fix the budget. They once sounded optimistic. Now many of them aren’t talking, and if they are, they’re gloomy.

Mark Bertolini, chief executive of health-insurance company Aetna Inc., called the state of play “pitiful and embarrassing,” saying the chances are growing that a deal might not be reached by the end of the year to avert $500 billion in tax increases and spending cuts.

“Set aside my interest as the CEO of a participant in the economy here””as an American, I’m embarrassed if that’s where we end up,” Mr. Bertolini said in an interview. “It feels like it’s starting to fall apart.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, House of Representatives, Medicare, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Social Security, State Government, Taxes, The U.S. Government

Tulsa, Oklahoma's Trinity Episcopal Church holds vigil for kids who died at Sandy Hook school

Focusing Wednesday afternoon’s service on the victims is a way for some to get through the tragedy, [the Rev. Stephen] McKee said.

“Lighting a candle, there’s something tactile about that,” he said. “After we leave, those candles will go on. Religion is supposed to bring people together.”

He noted that one thing the service at Trinity – or any service or vigil – can’t do is explain why it happened.

A important thing to remember is that death and violence didn’t just happen on Friday in a small town in Connecticut. Acts of violence occur often, and he noted everyone should work together to prevent them.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, TEC Parishes, Theodicy, Theology, Violence

(Church Times) Whitby see in review after priest withdraws

The Revd Philip North, Team Rector in the Old St Pancras Team Ministry, in London, this week with­drew his acceptance of his nomina­tion as Bishop of Whitby after pro­tests at his opposition to women bishops. He would have been the third opponent in suc­ces­sion to hold the appointment….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

John Stackhouse on the Connecticut School Shootings–Evil Encore

In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, I’ve been asked to comment since I am a theologian by profession and the author of a book on the problem of evil, Can God Be Trusted? Faith and the Challenge of Evil (Oxford, 1998; 2nd edition IVP, 2009).

Most of what I have to say is in that book. But I’ve posted remarks here in the past that are relevant to this incident, so I’ll just list them here in case they can be of use to you

Read it all and follow and peruse all the links.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Canada, Seminary / Theological Education, Theodicy, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Thomas

Almighty and everliving God, who didst strengthen thine apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in thy Son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in thy sight; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord our God, in whose hands is the issue of all things, and who requirest from thy stewards not success but faithfulness: Give us such faith in thee and in thy sure purposes, that we measure not our lives by what we have done or failed to do, but by our obedience to thy holy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Advent, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet?Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

”˜Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
who shall prepare thy way before thee.’

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,and men of violence take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Eli”²jah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

–Matthew 11:2-15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Rhode Island Episcopal Diocese urges churches to toll their bells 28 times Friday

“The decision is up to you, but we do recommend you ring them 28 times, which would include the killer and his mother in the count,” says a release from diocesan communications director Ruth Meteer.

“We think praying for all souls best reflect Christ’s message of forgiveness and love for all, and that we should especially pray for those souls who may need our prayers the most.”< Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Education, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Violence

(USA Today) Panel says most religious charities operate ethically

A high-profile panel of religious charities has issued a wish list this holiday season.

The charities want smarter donors and active board members, plus a few more IRS audits of churches that break the law.

Most of all, they want Congress to leave them alone.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

([London] Times) Church body plans emergency meeting over women bishops vote

The Church of England body responsible for the defeat of legislation to allow women bishops is to hold an emergency meeting to debate a motion of no confidence in its chairman.
The House of Laity is to meet next month to vote on a motion tabled by Canon Stephen Barney of Leicester that “this House has no confidence in Dr Philip Giddings as chair of this House”.
Canon Barney said he believed Dr Giddings was partly responsible for the “disbelief and ridicule” voiced against the Church of England after the vote against women bishops. He said he believed the vote had badly damaged the “mission” of the Church.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women